Sunday, May 29, 2011

Spinning, Haliburton and Books...

Finally! I'm posting about my spinning adventures in year one of the Ontario Handweavers and Spinners Guild's handspinning programme.... I spent 10 days in May at the Haliburton School of the Arts - the school is fantastic and I would highly recommend taking one of their many amazing courses!

I had a LOT of fun, it was a LOT of work (and will continue to be as I work on homework and continue my education over the next six years) and I learned a LOT too.

This is going to be a "mostly pictures" post so here we go...

My wheel in top form (notice the Fairy Godmother made and given to me by my wonderful fibre friend Helle).

Experimenting with "washing" raw fleece using only boiled water. One of my classmates is from Germany and this is the way she washes her fleeces. It worked very well!

Hand carding and drum carding:

Drop spindle spinning and me holding a whorl that is over 700 years old!

Samples, samples, samples:

As luck would have it, the local health food store is also the LYS!

I stayed at the Chateau Woodlands just outside the little town of Haliburton. It was such a cute little cottage!

I didn't have much free time, but when I did, this is what I did (thanks for my new bike Boomer!):

A note on bears: there are bears. They were still hibernating when we first arrived and awoke while we were there. Boomer went and took a picture of their cave entrance - I was very anxious. We knew they were out and hungry a few days later when we saw the bite marks on the garbage receptacles. I read the "What To Do When You Encounter a Bear" posters at the school and heeded Boomer's advice: "Do NOT play dead".... I'm no camper...

These next two pictures are especially for Cal Patch of Hodge Podge Farm:

This past weekend was the Textile Museum's annual Yardage Sale. My friend Andrea Leigh came to visit me to go to the sale. We both scored on books. I got a rare book on Spinning Wheels in Canada and some kooky old crochet books (I bought one of them solely for the picture below. I wonder if my cats would like a coat like "Bobo's"?):

After we purchased our treasures, we ate some vegan burriots at a new place in Kensington Market called, Hot Beans (PS: they also have vegan donuts!). We then spent the rest of the afternoon chillin' at Lettuce Knit with the fantastic Denny and Kate! What a great day!

Friday, May 20, 2011

June Classes!

June's going to be a busy month for me! Tamaralda and I are giving a talk on Wednesday June 15 at 7:30pm for the Downtown Knit Collective. We are speaking about our experiences with our knitted and crocheted skirt addiction!

I'm also the new Membership and Promotions person for the Ontario Handweavers and Spinners. If anyone is interested in learning more about the OHS please get in touch! I'll be posting lots about what the OHS is up to over the next several months.

Here are the classes I'm teaching at Passionknit in June. Please call 426-322-0688 for more information or to register.

Sock Knitting!
This is a two-part class where students will learn the basics of sock knitting. We will be working on four needles from the cuff down. Please know how to work on 5 needles, read a pattern, cast on/off and be available for both classes. (Pinchy) Wed. June 8 AND Wed. June 22, 7 – 9 pm. $50 For both classes; materials additional.*

Knit a Toy – Monster Madness!
This class is going to be a fun one! We will be working on making one of Rebecca Danger’s Monster Chunks (check out her patterns on Ravelry)!
This cute toy is a great way to use up leftover yarn and learn many techniques. We will learn to decrease, pick-up stitches and grafting. Please know how to knit with 4 needles and follow a pattern. Please bring Aran weight or heavier leftover yarn (approx. 100yds) and DPNs a few sizes smaller than recommended for your yarn. (Pinchy) Thurs. June 9, 7 – 9pm
OR Thurs. June 23, 7 – 9pm. $35 includes: stuffing, eyes, felt and glue. *

Colour Class!
Does colour intimidate you? Does colour theory bore you? If you want to let loose and learn how to build a colour palette that works for YOU – this is the class you’ve been waiting for. Participants will be asked to bring in an image that inspires them through colour – it could be a photo of a sunset, an image from a magazine, a favorite piece of art… During the class we will discuss why the image works and build a usable palate that the participant can take with them. Colour will be demystified through creativity and fun! (Peachy) Thurs. June 16, 7 – 9pm OR Thurs. June 30, 7 – 9pm. $30*

Absolute Beginner Knitting
If you are interested in learning the basics of knitting this is the class for you! This class is for those of you who have never knit before and want to get started. We will learn the knit stitch, the purl stitch and how to cast-on. We will talk about different ways of knitting as well as knitting terminology. (Peachy) Wed. June 29, 7 – 9pm. $30 plus materials.*

*Please bring your knitting tool kit to class:
Needles, stitch markers, scissors, note pad, etc. Also, please roll any skeins into balls before class!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Goodies, Animals and Craftiness

Typical morning during Cal's visit!

I’m currently writing from Haliburton, ON where I am taking level one of a six-year hand-spinning programme through the Ontario Handweavers and Spinners Guild. I’m having a fantastic time and meeting lots of people. I’m learning a lot too - much of which I will share over the next few weeks.

I want to get back to Ms. Cal Patch of Hodge Podge Farm’s visit… The title of this post pretty much sums up what occupied much of Cal and my time (and pretty much in that order too).
One of our many identical interests is goodies, mostly in the form of pastries, only from Indy bakers/bakeries. Also, if one has acquired said goodies, one also needs some sort of delicious tea – preferably black and scented.

Animals – I have cats, Cal has Gertie (a dog that doesn’t really seem all that dog like). My cats were not sure what Gertie was, they knew they didn’t really like her but were not too sure. Gertie, who was raised by cats, totally ignored the cats. We also met Maisy the Workroom dog!

Even Tamaralda loved Gertie!
Best for last! Craftiness! I was able to very happily sit in on several of Cal’s classes. The first was a pattern making class to make a pattern for a dress (the lovely blogstress/my friend Claire was in attendance)! I was so excited to learn how to make a pattern based on MY body!

Gertie is Cal's helper during class.

La Blogstress Claire.

Dress pattern making at Lettuce Knit!

Cal is a wonderful teacher and I was lucky enough to also take a t-shirt pattern making class at Workroom. Workroom is an amazing space full of fabrics and classes and books…. My head was spinning with excitement! Again! A perfect pattern for a perfect t-shirt for ME!

Lettuce Knit was Cal and my home for three evenings in a row! Their Stitch n’ Bitch night was so much fun! I had a great time meeting the Lettuce team! I also got to sit in on Cal’s embroidery for knitter’s class – which re-ignited my love for embroidery in a whole new way.

Lettuce Knit Stitch n' Bitch.

Embroidery class at Lettuce Knit.

Cal and I had the perfect week – well, I guess I can’t speak for her….

As an addendum to my last post, the cardinal nest was empty as of the other day. No eggs/babies/Momma bird. I believe it was some nasty badsy raccoon out for a quick snack....

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

For the Birds....

My Cal Gal
(notice the Charles and Diana mug - very timely of the recent Royal Wedding!)

This past week has been a flurry of fibre, tea, pastries, animals and sewing.

None other than Madame Cal Patch of Hodge Podge Farm was FINALLY "up here" in Toronto visiting me and teaching in her amazing pattern making techniques and embroidery too! (as one of my fellow students said, "Add an "m" to Cal and you get calm.") Her teaching is amazingly calming and laid back and I certainly learned a lot from her that I can apply to my teaching as well as just learning a lot of technique that has left me itching to dust off the old sewing machine! If you haven't got her book, "Design-It-Yourself Clothes" yet - what are you waiting for?!

There's so much to talk and share about her trip - I'm going to have to do so over a few posts...

Something I am going to share on this post is about birds, well a bird... All winter a beautiful red cardinal has been stalking my parents. Every time we looked out the window - there he was staring back. My mom and I even thought that maybe it was some reincarnated relative checking up on us. One morning when I was staying at my parents' place, I opened the blind and there he was! It was like a horror movie!

Fast forward to May... it turns out he was casing the place in order to build a nest. His mate has built a beautiful little nest in the thick bushy vines on the front porch. There are three little eggs in it. In a way it's a funny place for a nest... the post carrier, my family, neighbours are always passing by and getting dive bombed by daddy bird.

Oh, and the behaviour of peering and snoopervising all winter - he most likely thought there was another male and could see his reflection. Cardinals are very territorial.
Thank goodness for Boomer who explained all this (she's kind of an expert since her degree is in Ornithology and Animal Biology - it's always good to have several types of nerds in the family).

I was reading about how the female builds her nest and basically it's very complicated weaving. Did ancient humans learned to weave by watching birds? Is the drive to make things part of our DNA? It just struck me as a wonderful thing...

Here are a few finished projects. My Granny Square skirt and my Orenburg Lace Sampler complete with crocheted edging.